First World War: Royals help plant poppies at Tower of London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
with Prince Harry visited the Tower of London's 'Blood Swept Land

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry visited the Tower of London's 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' poppy installation [John Stillwell/PA Wire] - Credit: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Tower of London with Prince Harry today to help volunteers making an enormous, blood-red artwork to commemorate those who died in WWI.

The Tower of London marks the 100 year anniversary of the First World War with a new installation, '

The Tower of London marks the 100 year anniversary of the First World War with a new installation, 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', filling a dy moat thousands of ceramic poppies. - Credit: Archant

Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, in the Tower’s moat, currently consists of 120,000 poppies but more will be added over the coming months until there are 888,246 on Armistice Day, November 11, one for each British and Colonial death during the war. Afterwards, the poppies will be available to buy as souvenirs for £25 each.

William was heard telling the artwork’s creator Paul Cummins the piece was “spectacular” before they joined him to climb the Middle Tower to view the artwork from on high.

The smartly-suited Princes and Kate, who wore a dress of cobalt blue, met volunteers from Historic Royal Palaces and ex-services personnel who helped install the artwork.

They then briefly walked around the moat to see the extent of the work so far while crowds lining the top of the moat cheered.

The Tower of London marks the 100 year anniversary of the First World War with a new installation, '

The Tower of London marks the 100 year anniversary of the First World War with a new installation, 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', filling a dy moat thousands of ceramic poppies. - Credit: Archant


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Mr Cummins said he got the idea for the artwork from a “living will” he found in Derbyshire two years ago which had used the phrase that gave his installation its name.

“Each one represents someone who died in the First World War from Britain and the Dominions. I’m literally trying to represent people because a number is a number, but if you see it all like this it is a visual idea of how many people were there.”

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Stage designer Tom Piper, who helped Mr Cummins make his vision a reality, said: “We also wanted to make sure it didn’t become regimented mass rows of poppies - there is an organic quality to it - so taking the line of the ‘seas of red’, a feeling of waves of movement so that some of the poppies are higher than others so you can see them gently moving in the breeze... just to give it a sort of energy, the energy of all those who lost their lives.”

Read more:

Lights out in Tower Hamlets tonight to mark outbreak of First World War

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